Astonishing Atonement opens 64th Venice Film Festival
The Venice Film Festival will officially open its 64th edition tonight with a screening of UK production Atonement [+see also:
film profile]. Director Joe Wright, actresses Keira Knightley and Vanessa Redgrave and actor James McAvoy will be joined by festival director Marco Müller on the red carpet.
Based on the novel by Ian McEwan, Atonement tells the story of a doomed love affair in the 1930s and 1940s that may still be redeemed by the very person who did everything possible to keep the two lovers apart. The film, only Wright’s second after 2005’s Pride & Prejudice [+see also:
film profile], is a masterful adaptation, casting Knightley and McAvoy as the lovers Robbie and Cecilia and Vanessa Redgrave as one of the three actresses portraying Cecilia’s younger sister Briony.
As a young child with a wild imagination, Briony seems to see things that are not really there. For the rest of her life, as WWII comes and goes and right up until the present, her actions will haunt the three characters.
Staying very close to the novel (even in the way it is edited, which is sometimes unnecessarily complicated), Wright gives the couple ample screen time, including in a wonderfully choreographed scene that bursts with eroticism and involves the couple in a dimly lit library, with the camera just hovering beyond a library ladder that becomes an unexpected third participant in their tryst.
The director explained: “Keira and James are magical together and I loved the scene in the library, a wonderful release of tension for Cecilia (Knightley’s character). She doesn’t know her own feelings and you see her suddenly recognise them”.
The actress, who might be headed for a second Oscar nomination after her first for Pride & Prejudice, added: “She doesn’t realise she likes him and won’t admit that there is anything more going on than just a brother and sister relationship, but it is something really different”.
It is likely that come closing night, Atonement will yet again be mentioned in the palazzo del cinema.
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